Each year NAIDOC Week celebrates the achievements, history and continuing culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and gives all Australians the chance to learn about First Nations cultures and histories and participate in celebrations of the oldest, continuous living cultures on Earth.
This year NAIDOC Week is being held from 3-10 July, with many events scheduled around Australia, including the NAIDOC Week Awards Ceremony in Melbourne, on the theme of Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! – a call to support and secure institutional, structural, collaborative, and cooperative reforms.
The National NAIDOC Committee, in elaborating on this year’s theme have stated:
- It’s also time to celebrate the many who have driven and led change in our communities over generations—they have been the heroes and champions of change, of equal rights and even basic human rights.
- Getting Up, Standing Up, and Showing Up can take many forms.
- We need to move beyond just acknowledgement, good intentions, empty words and promises, and hollow commitments. Enough is enough.
- The relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians needs to be based on justice, equity, and the proper recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights.
ANZSOG stands with the First Peoples of Australia and supports their aspirations for structural and Institutional change to build a just and equitable relationship with non-Indigenous Australians.
We have worked in recent years to help lead reform in the public service by promoting and prioritising the perspectives of First Peoples, and the importance of acknowledging Indigenous history and culture and incorporating Indigenous knowledge into the work of government. We endorse the need for changes in the way the public sector operates to ensure it can deliver policies which meet the needs and aspirations of the First Peoples of Australia.
The National Agreement on Closing the Gap has the support of all Australian Governments and First Peoples representatives. It’s an agreement that has huge potential to change how governments work with First Peoples, but for it have a real impact it needs to be embraced at all levels, and by all public servants, whether or not they are in an Indigenous agency.
The latest eBulletin from the Coalition of Peaks includes a message from Lead Convenor, Pat Turner, summarising the changes and hope the new government offers First Nations and their communities. Included is a brief (one page), high-level snapshots of the Partnership Agreement and the National Agreement on closing the gaps.
At ANZSOG, we are currently on our own journey to include Indigenous ways of knowing and being in our mission to lift the quality of public sector leadership in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. This includes representation of Indigenous people at all levels of the public sector.
The steps of this journey are outlined in our First Peoples Strategy which recognises our commitment to working with communities across our two countries to promote and prioritise the perspectives and contributions of the First Peoples of Australia and Māori. Other aspects of our work, including the Wise Practice library of resources can be found on our website.
Our First Peoples public administration conferences have been forums that have shared stories of success, and innovative ways that governments can work with First Peoples and Māori to build genuine partnerships. They have allowed public servants, First Peoples, Māori and academics to build networks and explore different approaches to the relationship between governments and First Peoples and Māori.
Recent years have seen a substantial change in attitudes towards the relationship between Australian governments and First Peoples. There is growing recognition of the need to include First Peoples on an equal basis through a Treaty or a Voice to Parliament, with the State of Victoria beginning negotiations with Aboriginal Victorians around a Treaty framework and establishing the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission with its focus on truth-telling. Other states and territories in Australia are also considering Treaties with First Peoples as the basis for just and equitable relationships.
These changes have been given new momentum at the federal level and we cannot afford to let pass the very real opportunity that now presents itself for reform, based on a fundamental change in the relationship Australia has with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
ANZSOG will continue to build partnerships that allow governments and First Peoples to work together to deliver change and better outcomes.
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